A voice is crying out:
“Clear the Lord’s way in the desert!
Make a level highway in the wilderness for our God!
Every valley will be raised up,
and every mountain and hill will be flattened.
Uneven ground will become level,
and rough terrain a valley plain.
The Lord’s glory will appear,
and all humanity will see it together;
the Lord’s mouth has commanded it.”
A voice was saying:
And another said,
“What should I call out?”
All flesh is grass;
all its loyalty is like the flowers of the field.
The grass dries up
and the flower withers
when the Lord’s breath blows on it.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass dries up;
the flower withers,
but our God’s word will exist forever.
To be human is to be simultaneously incredibly fragile and incredibly powerful. Isaiah speaks about the grass and the flowers of the field, which must have been breathtakingly beautiful when they sprouted on hillsides after a rain. Southern Israel around Jerusalem is very dry, so in many places, the landscape is quite brown for most of the year.
Even now, fields of wildflowers strike us as gifts from heaven, an inspiration. How much more true would that have been 3000 years ago in a near-desert climate? We know the hillsides inspired Jesus too, because he used the same image of the flowers to describe nature’s beauty in Matthew 6. He even made the same point: that this gift of nature, though striking, dramatic, and surprising, is ultimately fleeting.
In the heat of the sun, the grass withers and the flower fades. Only God – God’s Work and God’s Word – will stand forever. We can lament our few days here on earth and our fragile nature. Or we can celebrate the power of our short lives to make a difference for eternity. Which will you choose?
For Pondering & Prayer
When and where have you been inspired by the beauty of God’s creation? How did it make you feel?
What could you do today to bring beauty into someone else’s life?